Punk-Rock Cabbage

Kai makes punk-rock cabbage to show us how plants drink water. It’s a colourful result!

KAI: I like to make things and learn about things in my own way. I’m Kai and I’m a hacker.

KAI: Ever wonder how plants drink water from the ground? There’s a really neat way that we can actually see plants drinking water, not like slurp slurp, but if you’re patient you can see it happening. First, you’re gonna need the following: some cabbage leaves which have been cut along the bottom like so, (unclear) cabbage works best because it’s got all that fancy hair. Some jars, a jug of water, food coloring, and that’s it. First, you pour water into the jars to fill them about two thirds full. Then pour about 10 drops of food coloring in each. Stir it up. Now stick a cabbage leaf into each jar so that the cut end is submerged and all the leaf sticks out. We want all that fancy hair to be showing off above the top of the glass. And then you wait and wait and wait. Give it at least an hour or so, but for best results leave them overnight. Now let’s see how our cabbages are doing. Check it out. They have been drinking the bright colored water and we can see it in their leaves. How did this happen? As you can see, the cabbage is drinking in the water. They can do this because they have xylem vessels. They’re kinda like tunnels that the water travels through starting from the roots and the dirt. Say it with me: xylem, xylem helped the cabbage draw water up through the whole leaf. If we look closely, we can see all the little dots. Those are little channels or xylem which drink up the water. So there you have it, punk rock cabbage from the wonders of science.